Posted: 9:13 p.m. Sunday, March 17, 2013
By Zeke Smith
It's time, people: the bracket is officially out (grab yourself a printable PDF from the mothership here) and both Duke and Carolina are seeded pretty much where people expected them to be. The problems, however, lie in who those seeds have both teams matched up against.
Let's start with Duke, who got stuck in the Midwest with overall #1 seed Louisville, ostensibly marking the Devils as the lowest 2-seed despite the fact they were#6 in the committee's officially released listings. Duke fans wringing their hands over their team's disappearing act in the ACC Tournament will have no shortage of reasons to be nervous here, as the path to the Final Four could feature matchups against Creighton as a 7, Michigan State as a 3, and Louisville as a 1 (to say nothing of the tough teams the Cardinals have to go through in St Louis or Oklahoma State/Oregon). The draws for other 2-seeds Miami, Ohio State and Georgetown seem like cakewalks in comparison.
Then there's UNC, who plenty of people are already quibbling about being awarded an 8 despite a resume that compares favorably with the 7s in the field. Well, the fact remains the Tar Heels were 2-8 vs the RPI top 50 and had a resume that was decidedly middle of the road - they were remarkable in having no real blemishes other than the loss to Texas, but they had no standout wins, either. Their reward for said bland resume? A nice "screw you" from the committee putting them in Kansas City to potentially play Kansas in the second round, who Roy is 0-2 against in the tournament. Hard to believe that the desire for compelling narratives wasn't driving the committee decisions on that one, since they had UNC as the top 8-seed and thus probably belonged somewhere like out West possibly playing Gonzaga in the second round instead. Unfortunately, they were dealt a much worse hand.
Neither fan base seems especially optimistic this moment, but it will be interesting to see how things evolve as everyone talks themselves into their team being a sleeper as the week goes along (mark my words, it happens every year). Stay tuned all week for NCAA coverage here - hopefully with all the parity in college basketball this year, we're hoping for a great tourney. Of course, that's what we said about the ACC Tournament, too...